Thanksgiving may be my favorite holiday of the year. It’s all about food. No gifts to buy, no worries about getting the right size/color/style. It’s food. Vast quantities of fun, fattening food.

What other holiday has so few expectations, other than a table loaded with food? It’s a gathering of family and friends – and food. Did I mention it’s all about food?!?

We’re doing the family feast again this year. It’s become tradition since we moved east. (Actually, it was tradition when we lived on the west coast with my family, too. ) Our first Thanksgiving in San Francisco was the only one I ever really stressed over. There are six kids in my family, 13 grandkids, plus parents. It was to be dinner for about 28. I decided I wanted a “sit-down” dinner. We hadn’t had one in years, too many people, not enough table space. it’s been “buffet style” for as long as I can remember… We had a reasonably big house. I figured I could do it with a little ingenuity – no problem.

And then the stress started…

Our house was built in the early 1920’s and had great arched windows, a great arch between the living room and the formal dining room. The rooms were good-sized, but neither would hold the 20 foot table needed for everyone to sit comfortablly. So… I started at one end of the dining room and began putting tables together – from one end of the dining room, through the arch, and into the living room. The arch opening was about 6 feet. With table and chairs, the only way one could get into the room, was to put the table flat up against one side of the opening. – which meant the chairs by the arch were up against the wall on either side. So much for being able to talk to your neighbor or pass the mashed potatoes. Victor just looks at me like I’m out of my mind, but doesn’t say anything. He’s being supportive. If I want a sit-down, well… go for it. Stupid, but go for it…

I set the table, linens, plates and glassware – the whole shebang. I’m trying to ignore the fact that there are going to be 28 people in he house and the living and dining rooms are now filled with tables and chairs, you can’t move from one room to another without having to walk through the kitchen, and there’s not going to be any place for anyone to sit EXCEPT at the huge table, and conversation is going to be impossible if you’re sitting up against a wall. Can we say “denial” boys and girls?!? Can we say STRESS?!? Why won’t this work?!? It HAS to work!!!

Reality struck. I un-set the tables, scattered the chairs about for informal seating, and set up two buffet tables in the dining room – one for dinner, and one for desserts. There was plenty of room, plenty of food, and no one seemed to either notice or care that we weren’t all sitting at one huge table. We ate, drank, laughed, ate, ate, laughed, and ate some more. Sitting on the couch, on folding chairs, on the floor using the coffee table to hold plates.

A great time was had by all, and an epiphany moment for me… It’s all about the company, not the table.